10 years ago…

Ten years, a decade, a century has ten decades, different generations between each one.

My daughter and I were sitting in the Costco check out line. She looks at my member card that she is holding waiting for it to be scanned. She asks me how old I am in the photo on the back. I look at it, it says the date taken, so I know it was ten years ago…

So many thoughts rushed through my memory, so many emotions brought to the surface with one innocent little question.

She asks again, but how old are you, I say it was ten years ago, so ten years younger than I am now. Wow. I am thirty nine. The huge difference between twenty nine and thirty nine are endless but its not that that sticks to me as a shock to the heart. As I ponder her question. She looks at me curiously, and repeats herself, but how old are you here? I say I was twenty nine, she says then how old are you now, I feel a tiny bit annoyed that she wont do the math herself. I am ten years older I repeat, not wanting to say out loud how old I am for some reason. But she persists and I answer I am thirty nine now. This appeases her curiosity.

My mind wanders, where did the last ten years go, I look at the picture, I remember taking it, I remember thinking after that I should have taken my hair out of my ponytail or at least the ugly headband off. Ten years ago was in the before time…

Before my daughter who just asked this question that stirred uncomfortable thoughts was born. Before my daughter before her, whose short life and traumatic events changed me forever. It was when my dad’s dementia was only beginning and his memory of us still good. When both my maternal grandparents were still alive and I saw them every Wednesday for lunch. That created the eternal memory for my then two and four year old boys who call the soup that we always ate there, a simple can of chicken noodle soup, nonnos soup. The mint they’d have after a nonnos mint. To this day we still refer to those two specific items as such. Before I knew grief was embedded in everything. Before I had met dozens of other parents who lost children of various ages to various diseases or tragedy. Before I lost a few years of my boys life to a quiet depression that kept me a moving, walking, doing, zombie. Before I was old. Before when I thought I would still finish my arts degree. When I thought I’d still go out dancing one day. Before when I thought I would go back to work. When I still had hopes and dreams because I was only twenty nine. Ten years later I have a fourteen and a twelve year old, an 8 year old who lives in my mind and a seven year old who amazes me daily. Which always causes the question in my head, had Lily survived would she be here, they would be so different, I can’t dissect those thought too much without immense guilt and eventual tears. Ten years ago I was in the thick of toddler hood, just me and my boys out happlity at the park searching for slugs and worms on a daily basis. Before the racing around to multiple after school activities started. Before life became too busy. When it was slow and I was ignorantly happy. Before my life became consumed by grief and aware of the possibility of tragedy in everyday life. Before my eyes were opened.

Ten years is a long time that passes in an instant. In reflection it was not a wasted ten years just gone so fast and the moments in between so large and life changing. We will see what the next ten will hold. If only we could stop time, just for a moment.

 

Thanks for reading

Sheri

Facebook memories…

A few times a year, every year since it started anyway. Facebook reminds you of something you wrote or a picture you posted, an article you shared. Its neat in a way to be reminded. And its shown me also how much I’ve grown. There has been times when I’ve re read something from 6/7/8 years ago and immediately deleted it thinking, wow, why would I say/share that? Theres the causes some of us promote that make you say oh ya, I attended that protest…

And like I’m sure in a few years when we will all be reminded of the pandemic of 2020, the toilet paper hoarders and quarantined spring break.

 

My daughter’s 7th bday cancelled, on top of our trip to Disneyland. Shes having a hard week to say the least.

 

My sons upcoming track season cancelled. Other sons ball hockey season, which was most likely his last, cancelled.

 

My mom lives in another country and my dad in a home on the island, so if this is our new normal, the borders closed and care homes shut down from visiting. Maybe I will never see see them again?

 

This is a scary time with the world coming to stop. Great for the earth. Bad for the economy. Great to reconnect inside your home. Bad for pretty much all else.

 

Back to Facebook memories though, my timeline is flooded in December, my angel daughter’s bday and traumatic start to life.¬† January, where she came home for a short time, February when she died. Theres lots and at first it hurt to see them hut now I am grateful. Below is one I got this morning, I wrote it 13 months after she died…

 

Thanks for reading.

 

“My pain is real and I ache for you, I try to be strong, but wanting you back replaces all the logic in my mind, the nights are hard because of the silence, the days are long because of your absence.”

 

-Sheri Hall

 

Comments and sharing always welcome and encouraged.ūüôŹ

Dimes

 

I keep a corner outside my daughter’s room, it was my first daughter’s and is now my seconds.

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Beside it to the right is, was her bedroom and to the left is the laundry room.

 

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I have been having a harder time lately.

I stop and light her candle as I do often, kiss my fingers to her photo and proceed to finish the laundry.

Where I immediately find this.

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A dime.

Now it is not the first but this one came at a time I truly needed.

I have found one on the floor in my closet, on the ground outside my car door, on a walk.

Why dimes? Why not quarters or nickels and some will say, like in the post I share below that finding coins period is a sign from above and others believe it is specifically dimes that we receive from ones we lost.

What do you think? Has it happened to you?

Thanks for reading.

Sheri

https://www.ask-angels.com/spiritual-guidance/finding-dimes-pennies-from-heaven/

 

https://www.auntyflo.com/Superstition-dictionary/finding-dimes

 

https://passingthru.com/finding-dimes/

 

 

Memories of her on International Bereaved Mothers Day 2018

 

As I awake on this sun filled Sunday, I am quickly reminded of todays tasks: 1 kids hockey game, 1 kids birthday party, 3 kids to get breakfast, 3 animals as well, and hopefully a run before I go to work. As I glance out the window and listen to the birds of spring happily chirping. I do, what we all do, after I am up, teeth brushed, kids hugged and coffee brewing, open my browser and am quickly reminded it is International Bereaved Mothers day.  As my feed fills with gentle memes and love for us. I decide, for the first time in a long time to open her box.

My treasures; memories of her.

box

The first thing I see as I open the box is the heart box the hospital gave us with things of her beside her pink blanket. The first I see as I open its lid is her cremation certificate and a photo of her on day 2 of her short life.

open box

As I gently spread out the contents of the heart box, I am confronted with the very strings that pull hard at my heart. A lock of her gloriously soft black hair, the imprints of her beautiful tiny hands and feet. Her tiny stained toques, other pictures, hospital bracelets and soothers.

her hair

 

Under her pink blanket is her things, a December candle I bought for her, a babies first teddy, a gift from a friend, her tiny little pajamas and jacket. Things I cannot give away.

 

in the box

 

As my other kids call me, they need help with socks and milk and other simple problems, I tightly fold the contents away, close the box that holds a piece of my heart and put away her treasure.

I wish all bereaved mothers a gentle day to remember their babies and children lost today and everyday.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

Sheri

 

Nothing left but a memory and a recipe…

‘Si cara’¬†¬† ‘yes dear’

Sounds very formal, however, my nonno, who died a year ago this week, used to call me cara- dear and the last time that I have a meaningful memory  of him other than the ones of my childhood is one of the time I brought my first born to visit. As a first time stay at home mother I was very lonely, I used it as a reason so see my maternal grandparents.

It¬†felt amazing to see them, to visit every week for¬†two straight years. After not seeing them after my parents divorce. After a childhood of weekly visits that ended when I was ten because of their separation. We visited weekly until my Nonna was admitted to care. I was leaving with my first born, pregnant with my second and tears in my eyes as my son screamed to be locked into his car seat, an acknowledgement of pain locked in our gaze, he (my strong, Italian born Grandparent who hid from Mussolini) said ‘oh cara’ – oh dear, with the look of love and sympathy on his eyes that I had not seen in ten years. My heart melted into a childhood heart,¬†I cried. I was young, I had no help, I wanted my family.¬†A sudden¬†flashback came to me¬†of my nonno calling me cara as a child.

Fast forward to his funeral; I see his brother who recently lost his son my cousin to a drug overdose and cried continually, when he’d stop to look at me,¬† he would hold my hand and say Oh Nina, my name is Sheri, but oddly growing up I always wanted my name to be more Italian, I wanted Nina or Gina. he always called me nina as a child, I thought it meant neice, as he was my Zeo gino, my uncle. A strong Italian immigrant came to Canada with his brothers for a better life. Always hard workers, always tax paying, law abiding citizens. All gone, my family from my childhood, gone.

With my dad suffering and witling away from dementia, my mom and I estranged since their divorce when I was a teen, my brothers, one a drug addict, a thief, on and off the streets, the other wanting nothing to do with our family. It is easy to feel sorry for oneself, but I try to remember that many, so many, still have it worse than I.

Thoughts of life and death wander through my mind and then sometimes¬†with the reflections of those gone; a simple memory of soup. A warm meal served with love at my Nonna and Nonno’s house, a favorite place to be as a child. A beautiful memory, like the delicious homemade soup, warms my heart.

Italian Minestrone Soup

 

minestrone

 

Ingredients

400 g of cannellini beans or a mix of pinto and garbanzo beans

2 liters of water to boil the beans

1 can of stewed tomatoes (unsalted)

200 g zucchini

500 g of herbs (Italian seasoning or fresh basil and oregano

150 g of pork rind or 100 g of raw ham

200 g of fine pasta

Parmesan cheese

extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 parsley

1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tsp. pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Place into a saucepan the prosciutto (ham) cut into strips or pork, together with oil, a chopped onion and parsley.
  2. As soon as the onion starts to boil, add tomatoes, beans, garlic, herbs, zucchini and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
  3. Let it simmer for a few minutes, add the water in which the beans have been boiled, cover the pan and let it cook at moderate heat.
  4. Let it simmer, increase the heat and add  large macaroni pasta or small shell pasta, let cool.
The minestrone should be dense at the end. Serve it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Enjoy with a slice or two of fresh bread mmmmm.
Buon appetito.
Thanks for reading
Sheri

Instant memories

A flash of  light, lightning in the sky taking you back to a time you forgot, the whiff of a scent instantly transferring you to a moment lost, a picture, a cloud, a breezing wind, a fallen tree random memories show you in an instant. Be they happy or sad they come with no invitation just a reminder tugging at a memory in our subconscious.

Like when I saw a 92′ Mustang yesterday and it reminded me of a childhood friend that was beaten to death in 2002. Or every time I pass an ambulance I think of the time my daughter was taken away for the last time in one. Or when my 4 year old lays on my chest, I am reminded of a favorite memory of mine, when my first born was 2 years old and I was pregnant with my second and he would lay on me as we both napped, I remember thinking it would be the last time it would be just he and I. When I see a lily flower or a rainbow, my daughter pops back in an instant, with a pang in my heart and a glaze in my eye. A lake brings me back to my childhood summers, carefree and swimming.

Every time I eat spaghetti or need to sew something I am reminded of my Nonna that passed away the same year my daughter died, who taught me to sew and fed me the most delicious of Italian cooking. The thought of fishing reminds me of my Nonno who joined her this year. Every time I hear the hideous word cancer, I think of the dozen or so family and friends that have died from various types of that disgusting disease in the last ten years. Or hear of another celebrity that takes their life, via suicide or overdose, I am reminded of the few lost souls of my past that have suffered the same fate. There was three of them, all boys 2 overdosed, 1 suicide, all within a few years of each other.

Thoughts can be so random, but the ones that creep up on you in an instant because of something you see or hear truly amaze me, in that our brains keep everything we have seen, heard or felt, unless shock or trauma have hidden them, but there are still those unfavorable memories we wish we could release from the time capsules in our head. Others we wish we could relive and savor forever.

The smell of a flower, or soup; the look of a stranger or rhyme in a song all triggering instant memories.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

Bean Salad; a memory

As I make dinner for the millionth time, chilli tonight, I add the six bean medley, stir and pause. Beans remind me of my family, baked beans of my father‚Äôs family, the stories of how being one of nine kids to parents that were… let‚Äôs say busy. He would have to open his own can of beans for dinner as a child often to eat straight out of the can. Needless to say as child I never ate a baked bean in my life, only when I asked my mom why because I had them as an adult and loved the flavor, she told me my dad forbade them from being in the house, he was a very gentle man, never said no and surely never forbade anything; too painful a memory perhaps.

But this can of mixed beans reminded me of my Nonnas bean salad we ate as kids, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, covered in vinegar, oil and salt. Delicious! My Nonna died with many recipes still in her brain unfortunately, her husband (my Nonno who was 91) just (she died five years ago) joined her finally. It is hard to think they are gone, they who taught me to sew and fish, who I stayed with on weekends, fighting with my brothers on who got to sleep in whose room, getting to drink Italian sodas and eating French bread dipped in coffee for breakfast.

All these memories brought on by a flow of beans emptying into a pot.

Earlier in the day my cousin posted a photo of my dad’s dad, my Grandpa Matilda(pictured above) when he was twenty-something; so young. Maybe that is what started this train of thoughts, maybe seeing that photo first things in the morning set off this day of reflection, but oh to be able jump into a photo and ask questions.

The past is so enlightening, I have always loved history, taking History twelve as an elective in grade eleven, yes the nerd I am. But it amazes me to know the lives of others, to understand hardships, to wrap your brain around the thought of no permanence, that there were millions of people before that lived and suffered and millions to follow. It is interesting how a photo or a food, a song or a scent can take you to another place.

I leave you with my Nonna’s Bean Salad recipe below.

Thank you for reading.

Namaste,

Sheri

Nonnas Bean Salad 

(Nonno grew his beans, well¬†all the ingredient’s in his garden of course)

2 cups -Italian Roman beans

-substitute with Pinto or Kidney (or use all 3!)

¬Ĺ – full head chopped Garlic

Bunch of chopped fresh parsley

3tblsp Olive oil

1tblsp vinegar

1tblsp salt & pepper

Tossed together, let sit in fridge for a few hours, overnight is best.

Enjoy its simple fresh goodness.

nona nono

Bruna & Rino Salvalaggio

Grandpa Robert Matilda

Robert Matilda